UK Markets close in 7 hrs 20 mins

'Kind and Outgoing' High School Junior Dies of COVID Complications: 'He Just Made Everybody So Happy'

·2-min read

Facebook Joey Hoopingarner

A community in Paxton, Illinois is in mourning the loss of an 18-year-old high school junior who died from COVID-19 complications.

Joey Hoopingarner, a student at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School, died on Sunday evening from complications related to COVID-19, according to PBL School District superintendent Cliff McClure.

McClure confirmed the death in a letter that was sent to parents on Monday and released by local newspaper The Ford County Chronicle.

Joey, who had not been vaccinated against the virus, was in good health prior to falling ill with COVID-19, his mother, Kim Hoopingarner, told the outlet.

RELATED: 'Perfectly Healthy' 16-Year-Old Who Loved Photography and Video Games Died Suddenly from COVID-19

She said her son got sick six days before his death and his condition went "downhill" on Sunday.

"His breathing got bad, so I took him to the emergency room," the mom recalled. "They incubated him and were going to send him to Carle [Foundation Hospital in Urbana], and his heart stopped."

The tragic death has left her family "very shocked" and "heartbroken," Kim said.

"It's hard," she added.

According to the matriarch, Joey "was always concerned about his family — other family members.

"He would always try to see how everybody else was [doing], and he was never worried about himself — ever," she said. "He was kind and outgoing. ... He just made everybody so happy."

RELATED VIDEO: Resident Doctor Dies of Coronavirus at 28 After Treating COVID-19 Positive Patients in the ER

In a Facebook post, Joey's sister, Samantha Hoopingarner, remembered him as her "little big brother."

"please keep an eye on mom and dad, please never forget how much love this family has for you buddy," Samantha wrote. "ill think of you everyday and never let you fade from my memory."

As of Monday, there have been at least 32,967,351 reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 585,572 coronavirus-related deaths, according to a New York Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.